Aayamza Royale's Greyhound of the Year success pleases Mark Wallis
Mark Wallis believes the ‘wow factor’ was a leading reason behind Aayamza Royale being crowned the GBGB Greyhound of the Year for 2020.
The November 2017 bitch, who was the eye-catching champion of last year’s Category One Cesarewitch at Romford, was announced the winner of the prestigious award at a virtual ceremony on Sunday.
Lakenheath handler Wallis, who also saw Aayamza Royale clinch the Marathon Performer of the Year prize, said: “It’s a really prestigious honour. We’ve won it a couple of times before and it’s fantastic, especially for the owners.
“It came as a bit of a surprise but I think she has that little bit of a wow factor. When you’ve got a stayer or a marathon dog that can come from off the pace, it’s always an exciting prospect.
“She did that in the big races last year, especially in the Cesarewitch.
“It’s a big plus when you have a dog like that because it excites people.”
Tomorrow, Wallis will switch his focus to the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket final at Crayford (12.39pm).
Wallis goes into the top-level contest’s conclusion armed with two entrants, the most notable of which is odds on favourite Bo Shine Bullet after victories in the heats and last weekend’s semi-finals.
“She’s done everything right so far,” said Wallis, who has won the competition twice before. She won in the heats well and then again in the semi-final.
“She’s also got the draw as well, being in trap one as the only railer in it. I suppose you would say it’s her race to lose because she’s been terrific.”
Wallis also has Anhid News in the running as an 8/1 shot.
He added: “She has done really well because we only stepped her up to this trip a few weeks ago and she has done better every time. I also don’t believe that we’ve seen the best of her yet.
“She’ll need to improve to win this but equally, she’s being doing that each race.
“You’d have to say she’s got a decent outside chance and we think she’ll run a big race.”
Earlier on the same card, Wallis has Antigua Boy, Aayamza Lexie and Hopes Doggy running in the final of the Peter Bussey Memorial Trophy (12.09pm).
* Wallis’ former assistant – Hockwold-based Patrick Janssens – was officially crowned Trainer of the Year at the GBGB awards.
Janssens’ Kilara Lion also clinched the Standard Distance Performer of the Year gong.